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Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

Intel Combines Global AI Work Under Former Nervana Systems CEO

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 21:49

Roughly seven months after Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) acquired San Diego-based Nervana Systems, the chipmaker is consolidating its portfolio of artificial intelligence businesses in one group, headed by former Nervana CEO Naveen Rao.

Rao (pictured above right) will report directly to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, spokesman Daniel Francisco said today. Rao plans to remain in San Diego, according to a spokeswoman for Intel Nervana.

In a blog describing the formation of a company-wide Artificial Intelligence Products Group, Rao writes, “The new organization will align resources from across the company to include engineering, labs, software and more as we build on our... Read more »

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Bio Roundup: Trumpcare Wavers, Amgen Courts Payers, Critics Circle PTC

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 08:25

Who knew healthcare could be so complicated? This week, President Trump and the GOP saw first hand, as a feverish rally to get their healthcare bill through the House of Representatives on Thursday stalled before a vote. Elsewhere in Washington DC, drug pricing continued to be a political football. Two well known congressional drug pricing critics launched a preemptive strike on PTC Therapeutics over its soon to be launched steroid for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, deflazacort (Emflaza), while Trump, during a Monday speech in Louisville, again vowed to introduce drug pricing legislation in the near future.

The rest of the week’s... Read more »

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Today Only: Save $70 for Human Impact of Innovation on April 19th

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 07:45

Xconomy is convening life sciences and technology founders, executives, investors, and entrepreneurs for an afternoon of fireside chats and solo talks at Human Impact of Innovation. A few topics we’ll cover include: quantified health and scientific wellness, fighting cancer, self-driving vehicles, cybersecurity, precision medicine, and so much more.

What are the emerging opportunities for investors and executives on these topics, and what role will San Diego play in the advancement of these technologies? Come find out on Apirl 19th at The Illumina Theater at the Alexandria at Torrey Pines.

Confirmed Speakers include:
Dan Goldin, former Administrator, NASA;... Read more »

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Amid Gender Gap Talk, Mentor Network Emerges For Women In Health, Bio

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 07:30

It’s been more than a year since an infamous party with hired models in cocktail dresses captured the biotech community’s attention at the 2016 J.P. Morgan conference.

There has been plenty of talk since about closing biotech’s notable gender gap. At this year’s J.P Morgan conference, for example, a group of 100 life science executives and others pledged to follow a list of gender diversity “best practices.”

There has also been some action. Launched last fall, a nonprofit mentoring program for women in healthcare and biotech has already signed up about 100 women, according to its founder.

The group, called CSweetener,... Read more »

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Building a Local Innovation Ecosystem

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 18:24

Co-authored with Rudy Gadre, general partner at Founders’ Co-op.

Western Washington is already home to some of the most innovative people, companies, and academic programs in the world. And yet we should be doing much more to connect and support our local innovators, to attract more agents of change to the region, and to help them develop big new things.

When you talk about innovation, a lot of people think of Silicon Valley, and what it would take to replicate its IT-based economy in the Puget Sound area. But a better strategy would be to examine our local strengths... Read more »

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Join David Baltimore, Nicole Glaros, Nathan Myhrvold, & More at Our Napa Summit

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 08:15

Year after year, Xconomy has gathered exemplary business leaders, investors, and far-seeing technologists to our most prestigious event—The Napa Summit. This year is no different. Come join us in the heart of wine country on June 8 and 9 to listen to visionary speakers and connect with fellow innovators.

The Napa Summit is by invitation-only, and attendance is limited to under 100 guests. Request your invitation today to connect with top leaders by visiting our event site or emailing napa17@xconomy.com with your name, job title, company affiliation, and link to your bio.

Our Napa Summit: The Xconomy Retreat on... Read more »

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Esports Startup Cayke Wins Audience Vote at EvoNexus Demo Day

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:23

Cayke, a San Diego startup that has developed video editing software to automate the process of creating GIFs and highlight clips from long-running video game streams, was the top vote-getter of seven startups that presented at the EvoNexus Spring Demo Day.

Karan Wadhera, Cayke co-founder and CEO, told several hundred attendees at the event last Thursday that Cayke’s Internet video editor is 10 times as fast as any other video editing program for creating highlight reels of e-sport video streams that can last four or five hours.

Traditional video editing requires expensive hardware to render the stream, and it is painfully... Read more »

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Murata Pays $68M for Arctic Sand, to Combine with Peregrine Semi

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 18:11

Japan’s Murata Manufacturing has acquired Arctic Sand Technologies of Burlington, MA, and plans to combine Arctic Sand’s low-power semiconductor technology with its San Diego-based subsidiary, Peregrine Semiconductor. The purchase price was $68 million, according to a Peregrine spokeswoman.

Arctic Sand, an MIT spinout founded in 2010, has developed semiconductor technology that consolidates a number of board-level power components onto a single chip for use in mobile devices, data centers, and LCD displays.

Murata already was a venture investor in Arctic Sand, and led the company’s $19 million Series B financing last year. Arctic Sand had raised a total of at least... Read more »

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Waving White Flag, Cerulean Merges With Dare Bio, Sells Cancer Drugs

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 11:41

Cerulean Pharma may have been able to survive one brush with death, but the second has proven fatal. Today, the Waltham, MA, company announced plans to merge with a privately held women’s health company, Dare Bioscience, and sell off, for a pittance, the cancer drugs that were once its prized assets.

Under the terms of the merger, current Dare stockholders will own anywhere from 51 to 70 percent of the combined company, depending on how much cash each of the two entities have when the deal is finalized. Current Cerulean (NASDAQ: CERU) stockholders will own the rest. The... Read more »

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Wrapify Q&A: Adhesive Giant Puts $3M in Car Advertising Schtick

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 01:40

After the adhesive products maker Avery Dennison (NYSE: AVY) recently made a $3 million investment in San Diego-based Wrapify, we tracked down Wrapify CEO James Heller, and stuck him with a few questions about the deal.

Heller founded Wrapify in early 2015 with the idea of creating a business that would pay motorists to wrap their cars in digitally printed advertising. Heller started at San Diego’s EvoNexus incubator, working with Glendale, CA-based Avery Dennison, a Fortune 500 company that makes adhesive vinyl films that can be applied to motor vehicles, conform neatly to automotive curves and corrugations, and can... Read more »

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Talking Driverless Cars, March Madness on Stocks and Jocks Radio

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 14:17

I hit the airwaves Friday morning to talk venture capital, startups, self-driving cars, and March Madness.

Stocks and Jocks, a Chicago-based weekday business and sports talk radio program, invited me on the show to share my thoughts on some of the latest trends in the startup world. Hosts Tom Haugh and Kathy Dervin bantered with me about the challenges of building companies outside the coastal tech hubs, how long it will really take to make fully autonomous vehicles a reality, whether our patent system causes more trouble than it’s worth, and much more. (I also made some biased predictions about... Read more »

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With New Data, Amgen Promises Refund If Cholesterol Drug Doesn’t Work

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 09:55

Stung by slow sales of its next-generation anti-cholesterol drug, Amgen hopes new clinical data, released this morning, will spur doctors to boost prescriptions and—perhaps more important—drive insurers to loosen their restrictions.

The data, from a massive study of more than 27,000 patients, come at a time when drug and healthcare prices are a top U.S. political issue, and pricey new cholesterol drugs have been a key battleground.

With the data, Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) is providing the first significant evidence that evolocumab (Repatha), part of a new wave of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors, can reduce the rates of heart attacks and... Read more »

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Bio Roundup: Trump Budget, FDA Chief, CAR-T Qs, CRISPR Cash, & More

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 07:50

If it wasn’t clear that the Trump administration disdained most types of scientific inquiry and practice, the White House’s proposed budget drove the point home. The top-line figures: a nearly 20 percent cut in the National Institutes of Health, and a 30 percent cut in the Environmental Protection Agency. These and other cuts to programs for foreign aid and the poor prompted this tweet from Sue Desmond-Hellman, the head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

US investments in health & development have created healthier, more stable societies at home & abroad. It’s critical they remain a priority. pic.twitter.com/cX4F9YDwcO... Read more » Reprints | Share:          

Doing “Defense the Silicon Valley Way” Pays for Daylight Solutions

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 01:01

Startups that develop advanced military technologies often never come to light. But San Diego’s Daylight Solutions has managed to openly thrive in two very different markets. The company has advanced its specialized solid-state laser technology for customers in both the defense industry and commercial sector.

Paul Larson, who co-founded Daylight Solutions with CEO Tim Day in 2005, said they followed a path that was very different from a classic defense contractor, but not too different from a typical high-tech startup. “We called it ‘doing defense the Silicon Valley way,’” Larson said Thursday in an e-mail interview with Xconomy.

The reward for... Read more »

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Machine Learning 201: Exploring the Market for New Business

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:55

2016 will be remembered for many things, not least as the year that AI and machine learning stepped into the technological and cultural spotlight. Advances in applied machine learning fueled our enthusiasm for smarter, more talkative devices. It impacted how we learned about and processed the news—and fake news—of the national elections. Automation grew in sophistication: detecting financial fraud, improving healthcare, deepening business intelligence, and disrupting human work models.

While significant flux continues, the fact is that machine learning is now firmly established in business technology. Some obvious big data categories are already dominated, but you need only ingenuity to start... Read more »

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CRISPR Organs? eGenesis Raises $38M For Pig-To-Human Transplants

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 02:38

One of the companies trying to revive the once-failed notion of xenotransplantation—transplanting animal organs or tissues into humans—has raised a significant round of cash.

The $38 million Series A round announced by Cambridge, MA-based firm eGenesis comes as the field of human-compatible organs grown in animals, while still years from real products, is back in play because of advances in new biological modification techniques including the genome editing tool CRISPR-Cas9.

Spun out of Harvard University in 2014—one of the firm’s cofounders is Harvard’s George Church, a leading geneticist—eGenesis wants to increase the supply of organs for desperate patients. There are more... Read more »

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Tax Reform and Choice of Business Entity

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:59

Choice of entity—how an entrepreneur decides to conduct the business—is a key decision with critical tax and non-tax implications. In the coming months, the White House is expected to release a detailed tax reform plan which, among other things, may include a significant reduction in corporate tax rates. If the anticipated changes are adopted, should entrepreneurs be more willing to organize their business as a C-Corporation, rather than an entity that is taxed on a pass-through basis?

While making significant decisions in advance of potential tax legislation is generally risky business, it isn’t too early to consider what impact those changes... Read more »

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Human Longevity Offers Genome Sequencing Through MassMutual

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 02:00

Human Longevity Inc., founded in 2014 by the gene pioneer J. Craig Venter to create a database for interpreting the human genome (and to make healthcare more proactive instead of reactive) said it has signed a partnership deal with MassMutual.

Beginning today, San Diego-based Human Longevity plans to offer its whole genome sequencing service to customers, employees, and affiliated financial professionals of the Springfield, MA-based insurer formally known as the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

In the three years since it was founded, Human Longevity has amassed about 40,000 genomes and related data on physical traits. Through its multi-year initiative with... Read more »

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Airlines Must Improve IT Infrastructure Now or Pay Later  

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 10:42

At the tail end of this past holiday season—on one of the busiest travel days of the year—thousands of arriving international passengers found themselves stuck for hours in the line at customs, waiting to be processed.

It wasn’t a terror alert, mechanical failure, or nefarious cyberattack that caused long lines and huge delays for travelers on January 2nd. The mundane truth? The processing system of U.S. Customs and Border Protection experienced a four-hour outage due to what was described as a “technical glitch.”

An outage doesn’t have to be maliciously caused for the effects to be catastrophic. The very word “glitch”... Read more »

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Possible Cures. Mystery Deaths. Daunting Costs. Can CAR-T Be Tamed?

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 06:35

It’s a struggle that comic-book fans know well. Ordinary people, bestowed with super powers from a spider bite or gamma rays, struggle to harness their own abilities.

T cells, key soldiers of the immune system, are wrestling with new-found super powers, too. Certain T cells hunt down invasive viruses, bacteria, and the body’s own bad seeds—the early signs of cancer. But cancer has ways of evading the immune system, so researchers are engineering T cells to give them extra cancer-fighting talents. These so-called CAR-T treatments, administered experimentally in clinical trials, have helped dozens of patients with otherwise untreatable blood cancers.

Now... Read more »

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